Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Life to Our Den

I can't begin to explain how much painting the fireplace and trim in our den has made it a different space. This photo below shows our room when we first moved in two years ago. And then the white fireplace is the finished result! We are still tweaking the mantle displays. And after going back and forth forever about the stained beams, we decided to take the plunge and paint them white. 

Our contractor said he would keep them stained, but the stain was old and not fresh. Freshening up the stain was a big job and since it's such a narrow room, the white palette really helps reflect light so much more. The fireplace was really sucking out the light in the room. 

This was a huge step for us, but we are so, so happy with the result! Brandon did a great job priming and painting the fireplace and trim It's been gray around here lately so my photos are not the best. I am hoping to post more photos of the after with our beams painted this week! 

So if you are deciding between taking the plunge and playing it safe. Take the plunge! 


Bull's Eye Primer
Bejamin Moore Simply White Paint Semi-gloss (fireplace)
BM Simply White Eggshell (trim)

It's totally normal to take photos of shows for design ideas right? 

And outfit inspirations, right? 

I mean, can HGTV just change their programming to include more "Fixer Upper," please?!

Have you ever taken the plunge and been happy with the decision? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Front door makeover

Our front door two summers ago and little Ryder around 1 year. :) 

Our front door is a sweet door. It's solid mahogany that has weathered many humid Richmond summers.

Except it hasn't been painted in forever and the previous owners had chipping paint and a door knocker that was crying out for help.

When my friend, Jess, came to Richmond she commented on the front door trend here. You see, everyone paints their front door fun colors. Coral, blue, yellow, pink, red, green, orange. Every color you can imagine.

I have been waning back and forth between green, red and blue. And then I chose a color that was better for resell since are moving in June. I mean, the most popular blue color in 2012 should be a safe bet, right?

And it's straight up gorgeous! 

Some fun examples of Wyeth blue front doors.

I can't wait to see how it looks this weekend.

Here is our outside project list 

-Plant more bushes along walkway
-Plant boxwoods in urns flanking porch
-Take down dead trees and delimb tree branches in front yard
-Pressure wash front porch and back porch
-Wash windows
-Install white window boxes (2)
-Freshen up mulch beds
-Freshen up paint on front porch
-new flag?

Mountains of beauty

Since we have all been sick this week, I grabbed some of my phone photos again! We travelled through the Blue Mountains over Christmas break and boy, these photos don't do the sunrise justice. It was a gorgeous morning! And if you are in the mood to do some winter wreaths, how cool are the antlers in the greenery?

Three out of the five of us have been sick this week.

Lots of ginger ale. And coffee. And toast and popsicles. Yikes. I am so ready for a healthy house. On my 37th (!) birthday, I was in bed most of the day, except when we were at the doctor's office for Ava and Ryder. We are all getting stir crazy.

For my birthday Brandon got me these cute earrings that I love. And some riding boots to replace my broken ones that I got a major deal on!! I will share later.

And the girls made cards for me that were so sweet, along with my favorite ice cream--Jeni's salty carmel! I can take or leave cake, however, I love ice cream.

Hope you have a great week. We are posting some fun before and after photos of our fireplace and living room. And we are painting our door this weekend. And possibly adding window boxes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baby, it's Cold Outside

This week in Richmond has been cold after our 70 degree Sunday! I have started running outside again and by the end of the run I usually am running in gloves, tank and tights or shorts. The weather is probably around 40-45 by mid-afternoon!

Today it's a chilly 30 and man, it's cold! Since I haven't uploaded my photos in awhile, I thought I would do a all-in-one phone dump of our Christmas time. I missed getting photos of my sisters who were in town. Next time, ladies!

Here it goes! 

Future kitchen inspiration! Those stools and those white shelves mixed in the coffee browns. 

My little hippy Sophie, who was playing at my parents' house and getting dressed up!: ) Coat is from Gymboree. And my friend makes the Frozen headbands. She's awesome! 

Sister Becca and I visiting GG before shopping. 

GG and me visiting.  

Date night with the adults in the family and look who was on their phone? :) Fun night at 101 Beer. 

Kelly got some sweet Hunter boots for Christmas and I loved these red ones that Angelina Jolie wore in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. 

Ryder got a big stuffed lion for Christmas from my parents and Ryder loved sitting in it. 

And Brandon loved taking a nap on it. 

Date night with my family and Brandon to see "Unbroken." The movie was good, but not as good as we thought it could have been since we all read the book. 

However, the unlimited icees were so good! 

Uncle Luke playing with Ryder. Ryder loved playing with his buddy. 

Charlie, Ava and Sophie before Christmas Eve service. 

Love this verse for the 2015. A great verse when you are facing new changes!! 

Mom and dad at date night. 

So nice to spend time with Brandon's parents at Christmas. 

The girls and I made dumplings for New Year's Eve and it was so much fun. They learned after about three dumplings how to form them. They did more than half of these. 

JCrew is having a sale on their winter items! This Fair Isle sweater is on sale--like major sale. It's down from $95 to 40. 

Vineyard Vines - 30% percent off 

Jcrew- 40% off winter sale 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 is here

Happy New Year Y'all!

Can you believe it's 2015? I am in denial I think! :) This is the year we move back to Ohio and sell our home so it's a big year of change. We are enjoying the warmer temps for at least awhile longer though.

We had a low key night of champs and homemade dumplings last night and watched the ball drop. Excited to get back to our normal routine and start exercising and eating healthy! I ate so much during Christmas at my parents. They made some amazing meals.

Today I ran outside in the amazing sunshine and am making a salad in a bowl--details to come next Monday! It's a fun way to make your salad taste like a restaurant salad.

Have a happy time with friends and family and go Bucks!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring in the New Year With Dumplings

Maybe it's the New Year, but for some reason I love to make other cultures food for New Year's Day. A couple of years ago I made some delicious and earthy vietnamese ribs that were a sticky, pungent delight. Your home will be smelling like anchovies for days.

And while I thought it would be fun to dabble in kimchi making, I was pretty tired from our week in Ohio traveling back and forth. Case in point....I thought Dec. 30 was New Years' Eve until 6 pm that night when I told Brandon we should crack open the champaign. 

So, right. 

Dumplings. Dumplings seem hard. They really do. They are like the fishtail braids of the braiding world. They look amazing and intricate, but after a couple of practice steps you are ready to look like a pro. My daughters, Ava and Sophie are making these today with me. 

Try them today and let me know how it goes!!

Steamed Dumplings

Steamed Dumplings 

Makes Approximately 36 dumplings

Origin has it that a chef in China's Imperial Court cooked the jiaozi too long browning the bottom. The emperor loved them so much that they kept making them. 

Serve with dipping sauce

1 cup ground pork
3/4 cup chopped shrimp (i used cooked)
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons celery tops
half of a carrot 
2 scallions
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (had to use dry)
2 tablespoons chicken or veggie broth

1 pound nasoya wonton wrappers

Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and chop until uniform size (Or you can do by hand and cut veggies in small dice). 

Use a cookie scoop to scoop one teaspoon filling in center. Seal edges with egg white and press edges to form triangle (see pic, Cooks Illustrated). Set on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. 

To cook 
In a hot pan, add olive oil and saute dumplings for 2 minutes or until bottom is brown. Add 1/2 half cup of water or broth and steam. Cover with lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Filling should be steamed and outside will be brown. 

Dipping sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 scallions diced 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Family photos

We had our family photos taken in mid-December, because that's how we roll. We never get it together in time to do family photos and call me crazy, but I like the light better in December than November. Maybe it's because December is more cool colors. No more bright yellows and vibrant reds from the leaves on the trees. 

This year we headed to Meadow Farms and had a great time with Ahren and Ryan, photographers my friends had used. 

We loved their photos!! They did such a great job and it was quick! Afterward we headed to get some yummy fro-yo.